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Parents Shell Out Big Bucks For Gear, Uniforms So Kids Can Play On Elite 'Travel' Teams

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Parents in search of a competitive edge have been shelling out big time for their kids to play on so-called 'elite' or 'travel' sports teams not affiliated with their schools.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, the end of summer in suburbia is a time for buying sports as well as school supplies.

It's pricey stuff, the kids' basics for a travel team will set you back a few.

"A premium club is spending $250 to $300 on their uniforms, warm-ups, shirts, and all that," shop owner, Erhardt Kapp said.

One father at Kapps Wide World of Soccer in Mamaronek tried to add up the total cost of gear and fees.

"I don't know, a couple of thousand over a year and that's just one sport, so if your son is doing some other stuff, say basketball and all this it adds up," Andre Vollbrecht said.

No matter what the sport -- something from lacrosse unlimited in Greenwich or hockey gear from Peck's Skate Shop in White Plains -- the cost of equipment plus the fees for teams like the Plainsmen of White Plains can be steep.

"It's about $800 for a resident, $1,600 for a non-resident," Doug Harrison said.

Travel and club teams are so expensive that some suburban families have cancelled vacations just to pay for them. That may sound worse than it really is because if one of your kids plays on a travel team you probably won't have time for a vacation.

"Travel hockey and lacrosse are our vacations. We're traveling to Lake Placid, traveling to Boston, we're traveling to Maryland, Long Island, that often turns into vacations," Heide Farmer said.

If there's any money to be saved it's in buying equipment off-season. Now is a good time for deals on lacrosse gear, and used hockey skates.

"You can have a $500 skate that they can get for $50, $60. You can get like a $900 skate for maybe $100," shop owner Chris Abramo said.

They might need new blades, but in this game you shave off your savings where you can.

Some of the merchants CBS2 spoke with participate in programs to put sports equipment in the hands of poorer students and the youth programs that serve their neighborhoods.



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